The turn of the century was marked by a movement known as the Progressive Era, during which many group sought to reshape the nation’s government and society in response to the pressure of urbanization and industrialization. The supporters were mainly members of the Post- Civil War generation that made an attempt to master a world much different than that of their ancestors. While not all progressives supported all progressive reforms, the basic objectives of the movement included improving the government, stabilizing the economy and lastly giving power to the people.
In the beginning of the twentieth century, the economy was booming, new technology flourished. The rapid industrialization brought achievement to the United States, however, it also caused several social problems. Wealth and power were concentrated in the hands of a few, and poverty and political corruption were widespread. As people became aware of these problems, a new reform group was created. Unlike populism, which had been a group of farmers grown desperate as the economy submerged into depression, the new reform movement arose from the educated middle class. These people were known as the progressives. The Progressive Movement was a movement that aimed at solving political, economic, and social problems. The Progressives were people from the middle class who had confidence that they could achieve social progress through political reform. The Progressives sought after changes and improvements in the society through laws and other federal actions.
There was a great need for the progressives during the early 1900s. In 1900 America’s population was around 76 million, and one out of every seven of those 76 million was foreign. By 1915 there were 13 million more immigrants. If that wasn’t enough of a drastic change in America’s culture, there was another huge change taking place. America was switching from small personal businesses, to the big business type of economy. Newer and bigger businesses meant different working conditions, different working classes as well as economic classes, and completely new jobs that hadn’t even existed before.
Throughout American history, people that have challenged themselves with a cause have had at least some control of major issues present during their lives. Upton Sinclair was one of these influential people. Using his talent for writing, Sinclair wrote his most successful novel, The Jungle. This novel stressed a need to improve conditions for industrial workers, and exposed the faults of Capitalism in order to promote his cause; which was Socialism. Sinclair achieved his goal of promoting Socialism with the story of Jurgis Rudkus and his family. By describing the harsh system in which workers were consumed by, Sinclair uncovered faults in Capitalism, and inversely promoted Socialism.
At the turn of the twentieth century, progressives were gaining momentum through the United States. The focused on attacking major corporations such as Standard Oil, U.S. Steel and the Armour meat-packing company to improve the living and working conditions of those in poverty (“Upton”). Those focused on these companies as many of their labor employees were immigrants that were treated as “wage slaves”, working in brutal conditions for the lowest wages (“Upton”). Upton Sinclair set out to exploit the meat-packing industry by investigating the conditions and lives of the workers; he later used his findings to write the novel “The Jungle” (“Upton”). Writing “The Jungle”, Sinclair expected and hoped that his work would attract the attention needed
The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, is a literary work that illustrates a world that was not too far removed from the reality of the day, describing the harsh realities and exposing the callous side of human nature. A depressing realization of how unregulated capitalists corporations and monopolies treated human beings as wage slaves with complete disregard for the workers' well-being. Throughout the book, Sinclair displays the struggles of an immigrant family in order to bring to light the failings in American society.
Industry in America during the 1900's was in the "I'm walking, what next?", stages of infancy. Politics, although not so young, was dealing with the bourgeoning growth of industry. Regulation in American industry was veritably nonexistent during this time. Anything went, and everything went, providing they achieved profit. Huge quantities of immigrants arriving daily into the United States provided a bewildered and obedient workforce. If profit meant that we neglected workers or sanitary conditions the dollar spoke louder.
The story “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair is somewhat of a declaration of attention towards the matters of sociopolitical issues, capitalism, political corruption, and the depravedness of corporate personnel, corporatism, and industrialism; it inspires progressivism in its strong and thought-provoking messages and lives by its title.
The Jungle by Upton Sinclare was the novel I chose to read for this final section.
Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel The Jungle is a political statement piece that was written to show the conditions of immigrants workers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Sinclair, through weeks of extensive research, gathered enough information to form a story based on the evidence he had gathered. Although The Jungle is a work of fiction, Sinclair’s novel is still said to be a primary source due the the fact that it was based on research he was doing personally, it was written near the time it was set, and it contains many historical accuracies.
The year 1906 brought about a new era in governmental legislation that helped to shape the way privately owned producers of consumable goods would conduct themselves in the future. President Theodore Roosevelt, a man known for his tenaciousness when tackling the issues of the people, pursued these legislative changes, refusing to back down to the lobbyists who stood in his way. One such industry brought to its knees was the meat packing industry, a thriving group of companies that supplied not only the United States but also the markets in Europe with processed foods.
With hopes of having a better life, a Lithuanian couple and their family set out to seek the "American Dream", only to find out later, that it becomes an "American Disaster". With his newly married wife, Ona and other relatives by his side, Jurgis, a Lithuanian immigrant makes his way to Chicago, optimistic that he has found success. Chicago at the time was a very sluggish impoverished society. Most of the agriculture involved meat packing and/or slaughtering hogs. This lifestyle, however, did not dismay Jurgis who ends up taking several jobs at these types of factories, especially, when things become unfortunate for his family. Jurgis is first introduced to the town of Packingtown, where he easily finds work and shelter for his family when they first arrive. With more than two family members (Jonas, Ona's step-uncle and Marija, Ona's cousin) working, Jurgis makes a decision to buy a house that he believes is new, but is about 15 years old. The house soon becomes a burden and consumes most of the family earnings for the expenses incurred. As times get harder for the family, many members are forced to seek employment. Antanas, (Jurgis's father) takes part in packing unsafe meat, despite that he will lose a portion of his wages. Ona obtains a job sewing covers on hams in a cellar; and Stanislovas (Teta Elzibeta's son) gets a job working a lard canning machine. Jurgis still optimistic determines that he "will work harder" to support his family through their tough endeavors.
Upton Sinclair was the most prolific writer in the history of America. He did most of his work focusing on how the politicians are corrupting the United States and how it will be made a better place; he also wanted political and social reform. The jungle was published in the 1906.it was a grim indication that led the government to a regulation of the food industry inspection.
The publication of The Jungle influenced many people. Middle-class readers recognized a direct effect on the meat they consumed. The Jungle had a great influence on family life and the way people thought about what they were eating. After reading the book, adults in families were very skeptic...
The novel, The Jungle was written by American journalist, Upton Sinclair. When I hear this book come up I almost always think of “the book about the meat packing industry and the bad conditions that people lived in”. I feel like you are a good author if you can write a book that people will hear and instantly be able to state the main idea of it. I feel that Upton Sinclair is a great example of that sort of author. This novel is a novel that I knew what it was about before I read it and it wasn’t until it became an actual assignment that I was forced to it read and thought it was actually really good.